12 April 2012

Gladiator Cop

United States – 1994
Director – Nick Rotundo
Monarch Home Video, 1995, VHS
Run Time – 1 hour, 32 minutes

If you’ve seen the poet-shirted epic Ring of Steel, you’ll empathize when I say that it is almost impossible to get enough of that fucking film. I watched it five or six times (they blur together) before I was able to squeeze out this shitty review. The subsequent month was difficult indeed knowing that there wasn’t any more. Sure, I could have watched Ring of Steel a seventh time, but as anyone who is passionate about film knows, you have to give it space. It’s like a drug, the more you take the higher your tolerance. After a while it just loses its potency, its magic, and you have to detox.

So it goes with Ring of Steel. As much as I need it, I’ve got to let it steep for a while. Sometimes though, things just work out. When I signed myself up for this Week of Hong debacle I didn’t really know what to do. I figured a plan would shake itself out once I had something to work with, so I just went online and picked a handful of the cheapest James Hong VHS tapes I could find and ordered them sight unseen. Not only did Gladiator Cop satisfy my primal craving for ponytail-man-bangs (a favorite from RoS) and illegal fight-to-the-death LARP nerdery, but it was also my first Lorenzo Lamas movie. That’s a pretty rich meal to digest all at once; like truffles deep-fried in duck-fat.

Mr. Hong doesn’t make his appearance until a little ways into the film, but it’s a zinger of a role. Often times he just has a teeny bit-part in these low budget STV flicks but not so here. Lamas plays Garrett, a cocky and uncouth ex-police detective who moonlights as a champion fencer. When the famed sword of Alexander the Great is stolen from the local museum where his collagen injected curator girlfriend works, Garrett traces the theft to the illicit roid-nerd death-match circuit. Garrett doesn’t know it yet, but as it turns out he is the reincarnation of Alexander the Great and surely destined to wield that damned sword before the end of this epic. Using his telepathic ability to fondle corpses and see how they died, he tracks the sword to one Parmenion (a real historical figure played here by James Hong,) Alexander the Great's rival, now reincarnated to seek revenge. It’s a little far-fetched I know, but these two guys really play it to the hilt. Even though I received the less graphic version (apparently there are some boobs somewhere,) this aperitif is exactly the appetite whetting I was looking for as I count the days until my Ring of Steel anniversary viewing later this month. Bon Apetit!

Thanks to TS Filmvault for the trailer.

Week of Hong Contributors
Lost Video Archive - Teen Lust, Gladiator Cop, Cyber Bandits and Blade in Hong Kong


Ty said...

Great review!

Also that is awesome and funny that you are doing a Ring Of Steel Anniversary review.

It is a Robert Chapin classic.

Saw The Swordsman 1 a few months ago, it was pretty poor for a Lamas movie...haven't seen this one yet. But definitely will soon.

The Goodkind said...

Actually, I hadn't planned on writing an anniversary review, just a simple re-viewing of the film. But now that you mention it......